Making Pinot Noir is easy. Making good Pinot Noir is not. But the best versions provide a sensory assault no other wine can match.
Pinot lovers walk a tightrope between agony and ecstasy. While the best wines offer exotic, complex aromas and flavors that border on the erotic, the challenge is tracking them down — wines with the yes, Yes, YES! factor are few and far between.
New Zealand, Australia, California and Oregon all now boast wines capable of challenging the great Pinots of Burgundy. Even so, growers everywhere still struggle to fully master this most seductive, yet fickle, of grapes.
Feral, fruity, earthy, velvety in texture — nothing else matches top-class Pinot Noir. Burgundy provides the benchmark, with wines such as Gevrey Chambertin and Pommard, but Oregon, Sonoma Valley and parts of the Central Coast of California, Marlborough and Central Otago in New Zealand, and various parts of Australia now boast wines of similar quality (and occasionally price). However, Pinot is not the easiest of varieties to work with, and even in those few places where the climate is just right for its temperamental nature, many high-price tags conceal mediocre wines. Those looking for good everyday versions should look to Chile.
Pinot Noir plays a starring role in several sparkling wines around the world, including Champagne.
What do bunches of Pinot Noir grapes sometimes resemble?
Pine cones - hence its name.